Monday, June 30, 2014

TOUR STOP: More Than Music

ISBN13: 9780991569601
Pages: 199
Source: Oops I Read Again

Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition. 
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret. 
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Hi everyone! Welcome to my tour stop for the More Than Music book tour. Don't forget to click the tour  banner up above to check out the other tour stops! 

Maddie Taylor is a music major with a secret rock side. From afar, she has always been secretly in love with Jared Cross, the lead singer and guitarist of Villain Complex. When their bassist quits just days before their audition on The Sound, Jared gets on his knees (literally) and begs Maddie to save them and join to help balance their numbers out. Halfheartedly, she agrees and finds herself thrust into a world of competition where her heart becomes at risk of being lost.  

More Than Music was an extremely fast read for me. I flew through the story really quickly and after finishing it, I am pretty sure I was smiling. The story is a really wonderfully written book that intertwines music and passion together. Not only do you fall in love with the characters, but you also fall in love with the music. I'm not a huge rock music fan, but I searched up the pieces mentioned and Elizabeth Briggs definitely did an amazing job in picking music that fit the mood of the story. 

I loved the world of The Sound where this story takes place. I'm a huge fan of the Voice and I'll admit that the concept of it was what drew me to the story in the first place. The construction of The Sound was absolutely stunning. I've watched enough episode of the Voice to be able to see the parallels and at the same time, the differences. I loved the descriptions of life on a huge music competition show, how behind the scenes everything was, and most of all the "corruption" and secret workings of the music industry. It was really cool to see the masterminds behind a big show and how they could be manipulated and manipulate others.

Okay, now onto the romance. I loved Maddie and Jared as a couple and the idea of a good girl and a play boy isn't something new. I feel like a lot of aspects of their relationship were pretty predictable, but then again, aren't most romances. What made it different from the rest was definitely the cute geeky references. I laughed so much and felt like a total geek, but hey, who cares. More than anything, the characters were so distinct and easy to that the romance was unique because the characters themselves were unique and special.

More than Music is definitely a book that will sweep you off your feet. It amazingly binds together music and passion together and like I've mentioned at least a couple times before, the characters are amazing and deep. The story is super easy to get swept into and before you know it, it'll be the final battle rounds. :) 

Kyle got behind his keyboard, Hector sat at the drums, and that left me and Jared up front. My sweaty fingers dropped my guitar pick, and when I went to grab it, my knees nearly gave out from under me. When I straightened up, Jared stood right in front of me, his bass hanging from his neck.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Um, as ready as I’ll ever be.” Which was to say, hell no. I smoothed my hair and yanked the bottom of my dress down, wishing I had a mirror to check how I looked one last time.

“Just have fun. It’ll be over before you know it.” He brushed a finger against my cheek, making me shiver. “Stray eyelash,” he explained. “You look amazing, by the way.”

Our eyes locked, and for a second, it was only the two of us on stage, about to make music together. He offered me one of his heart-stopping smiles, and it gave me the strength I needed to go through with this.

The stage began to turn, ending the moment. Jared and I moved back to our positions in front of our mics as the roar of the crowd grew louder and spotlights flashed in our eyes. My heart pounded as an entire sea of faces stretched before me. And in front, the four musicians who would decide our fate.

This was our one shot to change our futures forever. Our one moment to lose ourselves in the music and hope we brought the audience along with us. Our one chance to turn our dreams into reality.

I was ready.

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3.75 out of 5 stars
Foreverly Obsessed,

Friday, June 27, 2014

BLITZ: One, Two, Three...

Publication Date: June 26, 2014

When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love. 
Last year,seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.
But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.
At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell. 
When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.
Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?

The shortcut to the lake from our home is a dirt road that isn’t well lit, but I know the way by heart. I hurry down the path, tuning my iPod to Chopin’s happier music. But I can’t drown out Mama’s voice. It resonates in my head. It’s my fault! I know she’s wrong because she’s not the one who killed him. I did. If only I didn’t get into an argument with him in the car. If only I had warned him about the truck. I bite back a sob and rip off my knee brace to walk even faster. At first, my knee is stiff, but at least I can extend my leg much better now.
Seeing the lake calms me down, soothes me. This place is always crowded in the summer, but on this crisp September night, there’s no one. The lights surrounding the area flicker, the tall trees leave interesting shadows on the ground, and a discarded pink umbrella stands next to the bench by the grilling area. I turn up the volume of my iPod even more, settle on the bench, and search through my backpack. My pointes show the wear and tear of the last years, and no matter how much I scrub, there’s one smudge that doesn’t want to go away.
Memories flash back when I slip them on: my father handing me a bouquet of lilies after each of my recitals, the crew from the School of Performing Arts sneaking out to get ice cream, the summers I spent on the raft at the lake with Becca and my babushka, the hours at the barre.
Everything’s gone.
Dancing’s always been my escape from reality: from the fights my parents had more and more often, from my babushka passing away all alone at the hospital because no one told me she was sick, from my fears of letting anyone get really close.
Dancing’s always been my future.
Dancing’s always been who I am. So even if I can’t dance like I used to, even if I can’t put too much pressure on my knee, I’m convinced I’ll train my way back to the top, that I’ll show Dr. Gibson and the rest of them that they got it wrong, when they said it was very unlikely I would ever go back on stage. Juilliard postponed my audition and the director of the School of Performing Arts said he was holding a spot for me if I wanted to come back. If I could come back.
I use the bench as my own personal barre, slowly bend my knees, keeping them over my toes. Grounding my heels on the ground, I stretch down as much as I can, but I don’t make it past a demi-plié. I warm up for ten minutes, losing myself in the familiar movements. The stars reflect on the water; it could be the perfect backdrop for a production of Swan Lake. I wish I could position myself for a grand jeté, feel the wind surround me as I fly into the air, but I know better than to jeopardize the progress I’ve made. The last time I tried, my kneecap almost snapped again. Both my knees were smashed in the car crash, but my pivot leg suffered the most.
I angle my feet for some small pas de bourrée. I go faster and faster, until I bump into a rock. Fear steals my breath away. I avoid landing on my leg and instead fall on my ass.

Little facts about One, Two, Three & Elodie Nowodazkij
  1. Little fact: I wrote this book (mostly in the train) in 6 months back in 2012. And it has gone through several revisions since.
  2. Little fact: Like Natalya, I love pelmeni - but my favorite Russian dish is stuffed blinchiki (mostly with mushroom and mashed potatoes) yum!
  3. Little fact: I got the inspiration of my main character's name - Natalya - from my mother-in-law
  4. Little fact: Like Natalya’s father, my favorite composer is Chopin.
  5. Little fact: My book is officially coming out on June 26th 2014 because it's my parents' 40th wedding anniversary

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ARC REVIEW: Perfected

ISBN: 1622662687 
Pages: 304
Source: Entangled Publishing

Perfection comes at a price.
As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.
Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.
But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.
For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

Hey everybody! Welcome back, today I've got an exciting review of a new release!  I have the Amazon (click the picture) and Barnes & Noble links up above. I received a copy by Entangled Publishing but my review and opinions are all my own. :)

Perfected takes place in a world that's not much different from ours. Unlike other dystopians, the government is still very much in one piece and there hasn't been some major chaotic event that destroyed the world. The "dystopian" aspect came from the fact that science has now mastered the ability to genetically engineer beautiful girls who are sold as pets to the high and might. These girls are trained to be the epitome of perfection and "grace" their masters home to live a life of luxury. Ella comes from one of these "kennels" that trains these girls and gets them ready for sale. When she is bought by a powerful congressman, she expects that life wouldn't be much different from the one she already lives. But she is wrong. Living with the congressman and his family, Ella is exposed to luxury, riches, and the most dangerous one, love. 

What definitely creeped me out about Perfected the most was the owning of human beings in a dystopian world that seems almost identical to ours. One of the side characters made this whole speech about how owning a pet was the equivalence to slavery and look at how hard our ancestors fought to abolish it from the country. Unlike slavery, these pets are girls who are made to entertain their owners and to look perfect for them. But like Penn said,  it's a cage, even if it looks like a castle. ← Those words are probably one of the most chilling things he said in this book.

I loved Ella, she was a perfect MC and one that I completely adored from the start. She's a bit, okay, she's very clueless and naive, but it wasn't her fault. She was raised to be perfect, not to know how the world works, so you can't exactly blame her for thinking that the world is all sunshine and rainbows. But unlike other pets, Ella seems a lot more human. One of her two "talents" that the kennel assigned her to was playing and piano. When her fingers touch those ivory keys, it's not just Ella the pet playing to entertain her master, it's Ella the human being. Her piano playing brings out her passion, her emotion, things a pet should not have or express. Also, despite being very naive, Ella has a huge bucket of courage compared to other characters and that just made her an even more amazing person. She was scared of the unknown, of her feelings for Penn, but she wasn't going to let that stop her from exploring the truth.

Penn was just as amazing. He captured my heart from the very beginning and the ending stomped on it and killed me. He is a music man, preferring the magic of music over the debates of politics which doesn't suit his high and mighty father very well. He's just such a passionate character and he shows Ella what it means to be alive. My one problem with him was how weak he acted around his father. He became a bit scaredy cat and lost his "noble" appeal, BUT his actions at the ending had me giving him a standing ovation. He is an amazing character, the again, the ending killed me.

The other characters, despite being "side characters" were so amazingly depicted. Ruby was absolutely adorable. The congressman is one creepy man as are his fellow congressfolk. His wife on the other hand started out as a cold ice woman, but turned out to be an amazing savior. All the little details in the story made it absolutely perfect!

Highly highly recommend this story! It's perfect and beautiful and an absolutely stunning read! I'll leave with this paraphrased quote from Penn: Sometimes imperfect things can be beautiful too~ 
4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TOUR STOP: Breaking Fences

ISBN: 1494940825
Source: YA Bound Book Tours:

All Beatriz “Bia” Fernandes wants is to prove herself—to her family and friends—though it’s hard to prove anything with an overbearing father and three famous polo-playing older brothers. After her acceptance into college results in a heated family argument, the Brazilian girl leaves everything behind to find her own American dream.
College life away from home is perfect until the people she believes to be her friends turn on her. With lies and rumors threatening to suffocate her, Bia turns to her only freedom. Riding.
But one thing gets in the way of her escape. Garrett Blackwell and his bad cowboy attitude. Working at the ranch is his obligation, bugging Bia is his newfound hobby. His thick skin and easy grin don’t hide what Bia already knows—this misunderstood and lonely cowboy fights his own demons. Brushing horses’ coats and mucking out stalls shouldn’t be this sexy, and it isn’t long before he becomes a part of her distraction.
However, escaping won’t solve her problems, and it’s up to Bia to break down the fences around her and prove her strength—not to her family and friends, but to herself … and for Garrett. Because standing on her own doesn’t have to mean standing alone.

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Breaking Fences Book Tour! As always, don't forget to check out the other stops by clicking the tour banner above!

After being accepted to a college far from home, Bia is determined to prove to her family that she can survive out there alone. Her first day at college brings her to meet her roommate who is part of a sorority and is dying to become bffls. She also encounters her roommate's sorority sisters who are so super excited to have a "Brazilian" girl join their house. Of course, we can't forget Jonah and his frat boys who pretty much act like a bunch of jerks. All of sudden, Bia finds that the real world isn't exactly as easy as she thought. She has deal with a lot of racial stereotypes and discover who she really is inside. Oh, and a really cute cowboy with a dark past just adds more fun and drama to her life.

Breaking Fences follows the story of Bia as she struggles through college away from the protective barriers of home. When she arrives, her Brazilian background becomes the talk on campus as sorority houses fight for her to join their ranks. At first, she's enjoying herself as she jumps from party to party, but she soon realizes that most of her new-found friends are not who they pretend to be. She decides that she wants nothing to do with them which sets off a long period of unrelenting slut shaming. I think for me, this was the most important part of the story, it was what made it different from other books. We got to see the people instigating the whole shaming business and how Bia had to deal with it. And the only reason, the only proof they had that Bia was a slut was the fact that she was from Brazil. Apparently all girls from Brazil are sluts...if that's the real mindset Americans have...that will be very very sad. 

While Bia dealt with the rumors and whispers behind her back, she found solace in a nearby ranch and a cowboy named Garrett. While there is visible chemistry between the two, everything's pretty low key for the first half of the book. Their relationship was pretty much just a very strained friendship because each wanted something more from the other but didn't want to overstep themselves. Overall, it was just very cautious, but still pretty adorable. :)

I felt like the ending was a bit rushed which made me a little bit sad. Is it bad that I wanted Bia to hold a harder grudge? That I wanted Garrett to actually convince her? It all happened really fast and really easy and after all that they had been through, I wanted a more satisfying conclusion. I did really love how Bia handled jerk-face Jonah and his annoying kind of girlfriends, but Bia definitely should have kicked her butt a lot more. Just saying ;) Either way, this story is super adorable and will definitely tug at your heartstrings. Especially Midnight, I almost forgot about Midnight. He's adorable  Emoji

3.5 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Five Ways to Fall

ISBN: 1476740518
Pages: 384
Source: Atria Books

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.
Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.
If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

Hey guys! So...have you heard that there's a new book by K.A. Tucker that just came out yesterday? Well, it's a really wicked awesome story and you should definitely check it out! Not sure if you're interested? Why don't you keep reading and I'll tell you my thoughts? :) (That was my failed attempt to be creative...)

Reese MacKay is a pro at getting into trouble. Her latest crime, trashing her ex-husband's house. In her defense, he totally deserved it, that cheating jerk, but the police are inclined to think otherwise. To her rescue, Reese calls up her former step-father Jack who manages to persuade the cops to turn a blind eye this time and offers Reese a chance to change up her life. She agrees and heads off to Miami to start working at Jack's firm. Everything seems to be going well until she runs in Ben, a hot bouncer whom she experienced quite a humiliating one night stand with while she was at Cancun. Ben is not going to deny that he's attracted to Reese, but it's so wrong! She is his boss's step daughter and this is a chance in a lifetime that he doesn't want to miss. Unfortunately for him, Reese is trouble and fire rolled into one really good-looking girl. 

Okay, another failed attempt...please someone tell me that they're at least intrigued by the story? I'm trying way to hard to sell this. Okay, deep breaths, let's get serious. Emoji 

This is the last chapter of the Ten Tiny Breaths series which began with Kacey and Trent's story. And once again, I found myself falling in love with the characters. Five Ways to Fall is told in duo-perspectives: Ben and Reese's. I honestly cannot pick a favorite POV because both of them have made me laugh countless times. Ben is sweet-talking, charming, a bit on the arrogant side, but we love him anyway. Reese on the other hand is like living fire, she's a human firecracker and lives on the wild side. I think for me, that's my favorite part of this book, the characters are just amazing and so lifelike. What I would give to know them in real life.

One of the biggest "problems" in the story is Reese jerkface husband Jared. Believing that they were "soul mates" Reese married Jared after only knowing him briefly. Everything seemed to be going fine until she walks in on him banging his childhood friend and ex-girlfriend Caroline. He files for a divorce and before Reese knows it, her things are lined up at the door and Caroline has moved in. In her rage, yup you guessed she, she trashes their apartment with red paint. Reese's biggest struggle with his royal ass is figuring out that there are some lines you cross that just aren't forgivable. Watching Reese grow from that was really amazing and Ben was there right beside her healing her heart. 

Five Ways to Fall is an absolutely amazing read. The characters are so memorable, lovable, funny, amazing, and human that before you know you just completely fall in the love with story. Highly recommend this story, and if you haven't be sure to check out all the other books in the series! :)

4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TOUR STOP: Essence

Pages: 243
Source: Book Nerd Tours

Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she's fallen into another.
Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question.
Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic -- and he can prove it.
Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.

Hi everyone! Welcome to my tour stop for the Essence Tour hosted by Book Nerd Tours. Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops by clicking the banner up above. Alright, let's get started!

Autumn has been part of the San Franciso Centrist cult for her entire life. Born and raised, she was taught that she mustn't let things get out of hand for it would drain her Essence and lead to premature death. She witnesses this first hand when her younger brother Brody dies from choking on a piece of food given to him by someone from the outside world. The leader, Cedar, told everyone that Brody's action of disobedience to the rules of the Centrist movement caused a massive draining in his Essence which lead to his Death. Brody's death marks the beginning of Autumn's journey to discover that Essence isn't something that you should be afraid of losing because if you let your Essence out, you can discover so many more things in life.

Going into the book, I had already read a lot of bad reviews on Goodreads, so to be honest, I wasn't completely sure how I was going to feel. However, once I started reading, I found myself sucked into the story. The Centrist movement is so damn awful, it completely brainwashes its followers into believing that all types of fun equal death and it was so cool following the journey of a girl who breaks away from her cult to discover what the world had to offer. 

Honestly though, this book maximized on drugs, alcohol, and sex. After all, isn't that how most people spend their times doing something fun? Part of me was a bit freaked out by that, but then I'm Asian and sheltered so it's expected. The other part of me actually enjoyed it because we got to see Autumn grow from being a sheltered person to quite the party animal...especially when moonshine is involved. The story while it is set in a dystopian society reflects the "joys of life" rather than the chaos that other dystopians highlight which I thought was pretty cool.

As for as romance goes I do not like Ryder. He is a big, fat playboy and honestly Autumn could have done so much better than him. Remember Javi? He's adorable, Ryder however acts like a jerk for a majority of the book. Why couldn't she see that? Her questionable judgement may not have been handy in terms of boy drama (at least in my opinion) but at the same time it made her more of a 3D character. She made a lot of mistakes and that just made her seem more human. Again, she was raised in a crazy cult so all the decisions that she made showed her growth as she advanced away from brainwash-ment...just made up a word right there.

Overall, after finishing the book, I felt as if there were so many unanswered questions. I heard/read that it was going to be turned into a series, but then it wasn't. I actually hope it will be because like I just said, there are so many questions and thoughts and theories that are 100% out in the open. How about a duology? :) 

3 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,